Owls using time off to prepare for upcoming season

Players take advantage of summer leagues, personal training and recreational games to improve.

Jake Rosenkalt’s freshman season at Temple reminded him a bit of his freshman season at Brookline High School

In both situations, Rosenkalt was one of the team’s younger players, and as a result, he watched the action from the sideline.

Spectating was not easy for the sophomore midfielder either time, but it has not dissuaded Rosenkalt. In his first offseason as a collegiate player, he has taken full advantage of the summer months.

“I was adjusting to a more physical game in both scenarios, and that was probably the biggest transition,” Rosenkalt said. “I just do everything in my control to make the coach’s decision as hard as possible when they are deciding who plays.”

During the offseason, Rosenkalt participated in the Premier Developmental League, suiting up for IMG Academy Bradenton in Bradenton, Florida.

The PDL includes 65 teams divided into four conferences —  Central, Eastern, Southern and Western  —  with a total of 10 sub-conferences. The league selects college players from across the country, as well as Canada, to participate in both games and training sessions..

“I was really lucky this summer, because IMG has world-class facilities,” Rosenkalt said. “I could get in their weight room three days a week, and I could go out to the fields after practice and get some extra reps in there.”

The league has 14 scheduled regular-season games, seven at home and seven on the road, which allow players to gain game experience without having to participate in professional leagues that would compromise their NCAA eligibility.

Rosenkalt also had the opportunity to play in PDL’s Super-20 league, which is comprised of 17 to 20 year-old players selected by PDL from the United States and Canada.

In six games with IMG Academy, Rosenkalt totaled 226 minutes and chipped in two goals.

“Some of the teams are even better than the teams we play during the season,” Rosenkalt said. “The competition is good, and for my own team it was great to see how we stack up against players from bigger schools like Creighton [University],  [the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill] and how Temple’s doing compared to all of the other schools.”

Josh Tagland, a senior midfielder who appeared in 14 games last season with one start, does not participate in any leagues during the offseason. Rather, he spends time playing recreational games with friends, while also finding time for leisure.

“Staying in shape for the season is pretty important, and we’ll be going back in August to start practices again,” Tagland said. “I try to play at least once or twice a week, and also to take time to get my mind off of soccer and do other things to help refocus for next season.”

Tagland also adheres to the Owls’ strength and conditioning summer programs, which include a personalized package of three lifting days and four conditioning days per week for each player that is to be completed before the fall season.

“The strength and conditioning program is a combination of cardio and running,” Tagland said. “Running and being strong are important in soccer, so I think the running portion is vital for me.”

Senior goalkeeper Patrick Lestingi takes an individualized approach toward offseason training.

Even though Lestingi has not played in a game over his three-year career, he stays in shape each offseason with participation in recreational leagues. Lestingi also trains by himself on the side to make sure he is ready if and when his number is called this season.

“I really try to do more hands-on stuff during the summer,” Lestingi said. “I didn’t do any PDL or anything like that. I work with a one-on-one personal goalie trainer, so it’s more just personal stuff I do by myself.”

As a keeper, much of Lestingi’s training is focused on improving his footwork and increasing his hand speed and reaction time. The senior knows any time lost while conditioning can mean a setback in the net.

“I train at my hometown’s soccer club where I first started playing, working with the younger kids and getting training sessions in when I could,” Lestingi said. “Every single day I try to get in work, because you’ve got to keep up if the guy in front of you can’t play.”

Daniel Newhart can be reached at daniel.newhart@temple.edu or on Twitter @danny_newhart

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